|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Having been warned by the
Foreign Office of the dangers awaiting any
British MP caught sneaking around Zimbabwe, we have been spotted filming
while driving past the Grain Marketing Boards depot in Mvurwi.
In other police states, it is a crime
to film military bases. The
state secret here is that the grain silos are empty.
The truck gets past, but immediately our skilful driver
narrow tar strip and, throwing up clouds of dust, we succeed in overtaking.
He continues to block the pursuers, zig-zagging
from side to side. I
quickly take the cassette from the camera and hide it in my sock.
The chase continues for 10 minutes, then suddenly
because of lack of fuel, a rare commodity in this country.
It was as I handed out black armbands outside Lord’s
with victims of President Robert Mugabe’s brutal regime during the
England-Zimbabwe match that I decided to see for myself.
Since my last visit 10 years ago, the hunger, poverty and terror
resulting from the 79-year-old dictator’s determination to cling to power
have relegated Zimbabwe from a respected nation to a rogue state.
Desperate to quell opposition to his inept and corrupt government, he
has tried to resurrect the anti-colonial mindset of the 1960s and turn the
British into bogeymen. There was
no chance that I would be granted a visa had I applied through the
resolved to enter by the back door. Shredding paper into the waste
bins at the transit lounge at Johannesburg airport, I recall the FCO
official’s stern reminder only 24 hours earlier when I let him in on my plan
to enter Zimbabwe secretly.
"Always remember, Miss Hoey, that you were a minister
in Her Majesty’s
Government." I must lose my persona as a British MP and become a sports
teacher visiting Victoria Falls.
At Bulawayo airport, pulling my safari hat down and hiding behind my
dark glasses, I hand over the fee of US$55 (Z$45 320). I wait anxiously as
immigration officials behind a half-closed door decide my fate.
Then, relief as I hear the thud of the stamp.
Waiting unobtrusively to meet me is Jenni Williams. Repeatedly
arrested and harassed, Jenni is an activist who has spearheaded the
increasingly influential Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza).
Whether in the urban squatter camp of Killarney or the
hungry district of Tsholotsho, she works to endow communities with a spirit
Two days after I leave Bulawayo, she is arrested again.
Women bear the brunt of the crisis. Spiralling
food prices are putting
the staples of mealie-meal and bread beyond the reach of most people.
A loaf of bread that last year cost $100 now costs $1 000.
The weekly wage of an unskilled worker is $6 000. With
unemployment, most families never taste bread. People queue for hours at
banks to receive huge wads of rationed
banknotes worth a pound or two, with a face value less than the cost
Half the population of 12 million is fed through food
mainly by America and Britain. Grain is shipped halfway round the world and
paid for by the taxes of my
constituents in Vauxhall.
In this country, once the breadbasket of Africa, I
kilometres past uncultivated fields. Where wheat and maize once grew,
irrigated from the well-filled dams, only weeds flourish.
Mugabe’s "land reform" has seen his cronies installed in agricultural
properties, and even small-scale plots are allocated to members of the
ruling party. Most have jobs. The unemployed farm workers with agricultural
skills who have always worked those fields are prevented, by force, from
growing a few crops for their families. The food distribution network is
controlled by ZANU PF. Everywhere, I hear terrible accounts of state
terrorism against individuals suspected of being Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) supporters. One man tells me how he was blindfolded for three
days with electrodes attached to his body, badly beaten, then left for dead
by the roadside. His small farm, leased from a commercial farmer, had been
ransacked and taken from him when the owner had his land stolen by "war
veterans". While much of the violence is targeted at the black population,
the white farming community has also suffered brutality and murder. Farmers
who have seen their lifetime’s work destroyed, and their displaced workers
alike, with no home other than Zimbabwe, await the day when they can begin
to rebuild the agricultural industry that was the mainstay of the economy.
It is impossible to describe the fear. The Public Order and Security Act is
used to harass those who protest against the state-sponsored repression. You
break the law when you meet more than one other person to discuss the
crisis. You can be arrested for sitting down with a group of pastors to hear
of their plans to involve the church in the struggle for freedom. Despite
facing trial on two trumped-up charges of treason, Morgan Tsvangirai, the
leader of the MDC, finds time to talk to me in his home. The covert nature
of my visit has given me the privilege to live with those who stand up to
Mugabe. Sharing the lives of people on the move and sleeping in safe houses
gives me an insight into fearing a night raid from security police. I wish I
could do justice to the courage of the people I meet. They want me to tell
my government what it is really like. Mugabe’s apologists, led by his South
African ally, President Thabo Mbeki, claim the solution is their own quiet
diplomacy. But it is free and fair elections, overseen by international
programmes so that voters no longer feel intimidated by violence, that the
people of Zimbabwe desperately need. The message from the brave Zimbabweans
who one day will be leading the reconstruction of their country is to tell
Tony Blair – don’t be fooled by Mbeki. By Kate Hoey – Daily Telegraph
HARARE (Reuters) - For years Zimbabwe used to brush off questions of corruption, crime and greed as malicious.
But the country's deepening economic crisis has left many Zimbabweans eking out a living on the edge of the law, and a brave minority prospering by "running around and stitching things together."
The phrase covers everything from hard work to pick-pocketing and money-laundering to queuing for days for scarce commodities. Criminal activity and corruption arising from economic hardship is dignified by the euphemism "survival vices."
President Robert Mugabe's embattled government has acknowledged that the southern African state has been hit by the scourge common to many countries on the world's poorest continent.
Mugabe told parliament last month that his government would soon introduce a tougher anti-corruption law and legislation to fight money-laundering.
COMIC AND TRAGIC DRAMA?
Some of Zimbabwe's "survival vices" have emerged as comic or tragic, others have earned grudging admiration for creativity.
Beggars and the jobless have turned commodity shortages into an industry by charging desperate consumers to stand for them in endless queues; some prostitutes offer their services to motorists spending the night in their cars as they wait for fuel at petrol stations.
In July, two mortuary workers were arrested and accused of renting corpses to motorists to enable them to take advantage of special fuel preferences given to hearses.
Some enterprising Zimbabweans have responded to a severe cash shortage by hoarding money and selling it for a fee.
Zimbabwe's banks have literally run of cash and some have been forced to call in riot police to control angry crowds.
The government has no foreign exchange to import the special paper required to print money. The government says some people are hoarding money for use on the black market and that cash supply has not matched inflation, now at a record 365 percent -- one of the highest rates in the world.
ONE OF THE MOST CORRUPT
The Zimbabwe chapter of the corruption watchdog Transparency International says the country is now classified as one of the most corrupt in the world, ranked 45 this year from 71 in 2000 in a "corruption perception index."
"Our recent survey shows that over 80 percent of Zimbabweans believe corruption is rising as a result of the economic crisis, and that because of shortages even those who want to stay on the right side of the law are breaking some laws as a matter of survival," said an official with Transparency International Zimbabwe.
"There is a culture of survival vices taking root because the formal market is slowly breaking and giving way to the black market," he said.
Cement, sugar, paraffin, fuel, foreign currency and the staple maize meal -- which are in short supply -- are all found on the black market, in most cases at five times the official price.
Those who sell say these goods deny they are charging extortionate prices, arguing the rates reflect a market where they are forced to fork out a premium in bribes to suppliers and producers.
Police raid the black market every now and then. But while they have noted a big rise in crime -- from house breaking to bank fraud -- they have no figures yet.
In addition to corruption and crime, Zimbabwe political analysts say the country has been hit by another scourge -- greed.
"This country is falling on account of greed," said Brian Kagoro, co-ordinator of the rights campaign group Crisis Zimbabwe.
Mugabe, 79, denies mismanaging the economy, and says it has been sabotaged by local and foreign critics in retaliation for his controversial programme to seize white-owned farms for distribution to landless blacks.
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has
told his wife, sister and associates
that he is going to strip them of all but one piece of land seized from
The state-controlled Herald newspaper reported yesterday that Mr Mugabe told
his politburo, the ruling Zanu-PF's policy-making body, that he would not
allow anyone to have more than one farm.
"He advised those with multiple farms to choose one and give up the rest to
the government for resettlement," the paper quoted Nathan Shamuyarira,
Zanu-PF's information secretary, as saying. The Herald added that Mr Mugabe
wanted the extra farms to be relinquished within two weeks.
The declaration is a tacit admission that land seized from white owners has
been used to enrich members of his entourage and family.
According to the pressure group Justice for Agriculture, which has
established a database on the history of more than 4,000 formerly productive
farms, Mr Mugabe's wife, Grace, has interests in at least two properties in
the lush Mazowe Valley north of the capital, Harare.
According to well-placed sources in the area, Mrs Mugabe's sister, Rose
Marufu, is pressurising a farmer for a third property of about 800 acres of
prime land close by.
But one owner of more land than Mrs Mugabe is Mr Mugabe's sister, Sabina, a
ruling party MP. She has been officially allocated or has allegedly taken at
least four white-owned farms.
A spokesman for Justice for Agriculture, John Worsley-Worswick, said
yesterday that the database was constantly changing. "Our information comes
from government records on land allocations, or from information from
farmers as they are evicted," he said.
On the database, the justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, is listed as
having two farms, as has the head of the armed forces, General Vitalis
Zvinavashe. Saviour Kasukuwere, an MP and oil tycoon, is reported to have
taken at least five properties.
Other multiple farm owners listed on the database include the local
government minister, Ignatius Chombo, and the vice-president, Joseph Msika.
According to the Commercial Farmers' Union, less than 15 per cent of 22
million acres seized by Mr Mugabe is being cultivated, and the United
Nations says more than four million Zimbabweans will need food aid in the
The Zanu-PF secretary for information, Nathan Shamuyarira, said yesterday
that he could not comment on allegations that members of the president's
family and senior officials had more than one farm.
"You ask them what they are going to do," he said.
The government spokesman, George Chiramba, said Mr Mugabe "will ask [you],
armed with an AK47, to shoot the whole lot of them."
War vets welcome directive
THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association yesterday welcomed
the directive by President Mugabe that no one, especially Zanu-PF and
Government officials, should own more than one farm.
War veterans’ secretary-general, Cde Endy Mhlanga, said Cde Mugabe’s
directive at a Politburo meeting on Wednesday that senior ruling party
officials with multiple farms should relinquish all but one within two weeks
was a blessing to land reform.
He said that even during the liberation struggle the rallying point was one
man one farm.
Cde Mhlanga said if the leaders do not surrender excess land within the
stipulated two-week period, the war veterans would expose them.
His association had a list of the senior officials who owned more than one
"We are very happy with the President’s directive. He has our full support.
This is what we have all been waiting for," he said.
Cde Mhlanga said the land reform was meant to benefit all Zimbabweans, and
not just a few.
"We do not want black Boers amongst ourselves," he said.
The Presidential Land Review Committee had expressed concern with findings
on how the land reform programme was carried out especially in the fast
The committee was expected to hand in its report to President Mugabe in two
weeks and Zanu-PF party and Government were expected to use their machinery
to track down multiple ownership of farms and of dealing with the anomalies
that would have arisen from the committee's report.
The committee was expected to come up with recommendations to address the
anomalies of not only the scheme, but the entire land reform programme.
Hospital to give 200 bodies to medical school
Harare Central Hospital will give 200 unclaimed bodies to the University of
Zimbabwe Medical School for students to use in anatomy studies.
The hospital medical superintendent, Dr Chris Tapfumaneyi, yesterday said
the 200 bodies are expected to be handed over this month following a request
by the head of the anatomy department, Professor Lawrence Levy, to the
Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.
Forty other unclaimed bodies were given to the department last month.
"We have decided to donate the bodies owing to a serious overcrowding in our
mortuary which has negatively impacted on our cooling system," Dr
Most of the unclaimed bodies were of destitutes, murder victims and people
who die of natural causes at home and are brought in by the police.
"As a result, the mortuary is overwhelmed because we have our own patients
who die in this hospital and it is our obligation to keep their bodies until
they are claimed."
Dr Tapfumaneyi said it also took time for bodies lined up for paupers’
burials to be buried as the companies contracted appeared to be overwhelmed
Owing to high burial costs, some relatives did not claim bodies of their
relatives while it often took at least six months for police investigating
murder cases to locate relatives of a victim brought to the hospital
The bodies play a pivotal role in the initial two years of medical studies.
They are preserved and kept in the laboratory for practical lessons.
The university has in the past undertaken to give the bodies a proper burial
after the dissection lessons and students are compelled to treat the bodies
ZANU PF split on talks
THE ruling ZANU PF party leadership is split over the involvement of
local church leaders in facilitating dialogue with the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) to resolve the country’s deepening political
crisis, the Daily News established yesterday.
Senior ruling party officials said the divisions were so deep that
there was intense lobbying by the so-called hawks within ZANU PF to dump the
church-brokered initiative led by Zimbabwe Council of Churches president
The ZANU PF insiders
said Bakare and Evangelical Fellowship of
Zimbabwe head Trevor Manhanga were being labelled as pro-opposition by
ruling party hard-liners. The sources said a campaign had been stepped up to
discredit the church leaders, a development the ZANU PF officials said they
feared would lead to "a stillbirth of the talks".
They said the ruling party
hard-liners had in the past week been
lobbying President Robert Mugabe – who met the church leaders last week –
not to lend his support to efforts by Zimbabwean churches to mediate between
ZANU PF and the MDC.
According to the officials, the hard-liners were also decampaigning
the possibility of a government of national unity between the country’s two
main political parties.
"The church initiative is in danger of collapsing because some senior
party officials are decampaigning the whole exercise for their own
interests," a ZANU PF Politburo member from Mashonaland East province told
the Daily News yesterday.
"The unfortunate thing is that the campaign is being spearheaded
individuals who have a dubious history within the party and who, in any
future dispensation, are not going to be of any significance. If they have
their way in the meantime, they could derail the whole process," the
Politburo member added.
Ruling party officials said the
church initiative was the subject of
debate at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting and at Wednesday’s Politburo meeting.
Representatives of local
church groups, who have met Mugabe and MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai separately, say they are awaiting the two parties’
positions on the proposed resumption of talks, which broke down last year
when the MDC filed a court application challenging Mugabe’s re-election.
ZANU PF insiders
said the churches had been given the chance to
facilitate dialogue between the ruling party and the MDC by ZANU PF
information and publicity secretary Nathan Shamuyarira and the party’s
national chairman, John Nkomo.
Before the church leaders met Mugabe last week, they
meetings with Shamuyarira and Nkomo, the sources said.
But Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister
Chinamasa this week blasted Bakare and Manhanga, whom he described as MDC
members who had denounced the government in the past.
Chinamasa dismissed Bakare and Manhanga as "MDC activists wearing
He accused the two church leaders of becoming involved in the
mediation effort on behalf of their "foreign masters".
ZANU PF insiders told the Daily News that Chinamasa had been pursuing
a parallel effort and had been in informal contact with MDC leaders in an
attempt to expedite the resumption of dialogue.
sources said South African government officials, who have been
working to facilitate the resumption of dialogue in Zimbabwe, were privy to
Contacted for comment yesterday, Chinamasa said he was
not in a
position to talk because he was attending a function at State House.
MDC officials would not discuss reports that there had
contact between opposition party leaders and Chinamasa.
However, ruling party officials said there was
concern among some ZANU
PF leaders that Chinamasa’s initiative seemed to have been eclipsed by that
of the church leaders.
representatives are already in the process of arranging a
meeting with President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to apprise him of their
Shamuyarira would not comment on allegations
of a split over the
dialogue initiatives, saying: "I don’t want to comment on that. We are
pursuing efforts for talks to resume."
Meanwhile, Manhanga and Bakare on Wednesday held brief meetings
representatives of both the MDC and the ruling ZANU PF to follow up on
earlier discussions. Manhanga said he had briefly met Tsvangirai over the
written submissions the MDC and ZANU PF are supposed to make on the proposed
talks. "I spoke to MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai to find out whether they
had written their submissions. I was just following up on what we discussed
and resolved at our initial meeting, that they should make sure the matter
is resolved as a matter of urgency," he told the Daily News. Manhanga said
he had been assured by the MDC leader that the opposition party’s responses
were almost complete and would be submitted by today. Bakare is also said to
have met with Shamuyarira as well in Vumba, where a peace and conflict
resolution workshop was held this week. Sources said ZANU PF’s responses
would be submitted before next Wednesday, which would be followed by an
immediate meeting with both parties’ representatives. By Sydney Masamvu
Scepticism nearly scuppers revival of talks
President Robert Mugabe and his counterpart in the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, were both sceptical
of the church team which shuttled between them on Friday and Monday to try
to revive stalled inter-party talks and find a solution to Zimbabwe’s
economic and political crisis, according to sources close to the meetings.
Officials knowledgeable about the closed-door talks
that both Mugabe and Tsvangirai had shown their unspoken and yet apparent
fears during the talks.
Mugabe wants control of
the change process while Tsvangirai wants a
hand in it.
When the church delegation arrived at State House to set out its
mission to Mugabe, one of the sources said, the President received it with
suspicion and was "aloof and very cold" as he sat upright in his seat,
displaying "some impatience".
"When we arrived at State House, the President was
felt uneasy in our presence," the source said. "There was that feeling that
we had come to attack his position and condemn his leadership."
According to the source, Mugabe was actually
defensive as he repeated
his attack of the MDC as a front for the British and the American
"But when we laid out our agenda – and one of us explained to him that
our mission had no interest in their personal wars as the issues we wanted
to discuss transcended his personal and party’s interests – he relaxed and
started opening his heart. He wants to control the process."
The sources said Mugabe, long viewed as an
uncompromising leader, had
then softened his position and welcomed the church’s initiative, assuring
the delegation of his readiness to open the way for sincere dialogue with
his counterpart in the MDC.
there were moments of blundering and even apprehension among
Mugabe’s officials during the meeting.
In the initial stages of the
discussions, Vice-President Joseph Msika
told the three-member church team that the army still backed the government’
s leadership, to which John Nkomo, national chairman of the ruling ZANU PF
party, and ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira retorted that the army
should not be involved because it served any sitting government.
When the church trio went to
Tsvangirai’s Strathaven home in Harare,
it found him tense and concerned about a range of issues, although he later
expressed his willingness to discuss and resolve Zimbabwe’s collapse.
Another source said:
"The MDC leader was more forthright in his desire
for dialogue but it appeared he also felt insecure. There was a feeling of
wanting a direct hand in the change process but we explained to him that the
time for their personal differences was over and both had to be accountable
to the nation because the people are really suffering."
The sources said
delegations from both parties were keen to understand
the position of the other, but the church leaders indicated to them that
they wanted a clean slate of trust and honesty to avoid a situation where
the negotiators could be misconstrued as agents of the other.
president of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and
also the Bishop of the Anglican Church in Manicaland, Bishop Trevor Manhanga
of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and Bishop Patrick Mutume of the
Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference shuttled between Mugabe and Tsvangirai
in a renewed effort to thaw icy relations between the country’s main
The church delegation wants the two men to urgently
find a solution to
an array of problems that have beset Zimbabwe, which range from runaway
inflation, unemployment and poverty to critical shortages of food, foreign
currency and fuel, all blamed on Mugabe’s misrule.
Manhanga yesterday told the Daily News: "We are
of the outcome. The President understands the urgency of the matter just as
Mr Tsvangirai does."
Speaking at a
media briefing in Harare on Monday after completing
their first round of meetings with the two political leaders, the three
bishops boldly stated that "a solution
to Zimbabwe’s crisis was imminent".
Saying Mugabe and Tsvangirai had undertaken to climb down from their
tough positions, the church leaders said both men appeared to be committed
to resolve their differences and find a lasting solution to the country’s
Although the talks may appear entirely
influenced by the deteriorating
fundamentals on the ground, another source said there was urgency for both
parties to find a durable and credible solution that would be accepted by
the Commonwealth at its next meeting in Nigeria’s capital Abuja in December.
The official said: "They
(Mugabe and Tsvangirai) also acknowledged
their own deadlines to find a solution. We have agreed to work tirelessly
and get the best result by November so that the country is not entirely
suspended from the grouping by December."
Previous efforts initiated by regional power-brokers
Nigeria and Malawi have collapsed because of deep-seated mistrust between
the MDC and ZANU PF. Earlier efforts to prod Zimbabwe towards a democratic
order by the Commonwealth troika comprising Nigeria, Australia and South
Africa faltered over differences of approach between the two African members
and Australia. In the past, the government has used its dominant media to
vilify individual church leaders, accusing them of undermining the
government’s authority by encroaching into the political sphere. The state
media maintains that the church "should leave politics to politicians". But
last week’s talks, even if they were "talks about how to have more
substantive talks", have provided Zimbabwe with a little ray of hope that a
home-grown solution to its economic and political meltdown could yet be
possible. By Precious Shumba Senior Reporter
ZFTU members accused of extorting $32 m from Chinese businessman
ELEVEN suspected members of the government-aligned Zimbabwe
Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) were on Tuesday arrested in Highfield for
allegedly extorting money from an unnamed Chinese businessman, the Daily
News learnt yesterday.
The suspects, who were
yesterday being held at Hatfield Police
Station, allegedly extorted about $32 million from a Chinese businessman.
The officer-in-charge of
Hatfield Police station, identified only as
Inspector Chibhabha, refused to give details on the case.
He also would not divulge the name of
the Chinese businessman, but
confirmed that the police were investigating the case, adding that it would
be premature to divulge details relating to the matter.
"We are working on the case and those people will
appear in court. You
will get the details in court," Chibhabha said.
ZFTU president Alfred Makwarimba yesterday said he was
not aware of
"When were they arrested and where do
they work? I do not know of such
a case," he said.
has in the past been accused of forcing employers to pay huge
benefits to dismissed workers.
The organisation has, however, denied these
Why we need to avert a Liberia in Zimbabwe
SOME years ago, I turned on my radio in the early morning and
listened to a BBC reporter (Robin White) interview a man called Charles
Taylor. The person in question was leading a rebel attack on the government
of Liberia in West Africa.
He sounded cocky and
arrogant and a few weeks later, he overturned the
government and became head of state. In doing so, he ended a long run of
governments that were controlled by the families of former slaves from the
United States of America.
Today, any moment from now he will be forced out of
office by a
combination of local rebel armies and international pressure. Like so many
of his type, he has been a disaster for his country, he has failed to
establish any sort of democratic traditions, to reduce poverty and to guide
the economy into waters that would yield a harvest of prosperity for the
He also does not seem to have learned
anything in the past decade – he
is still that cocky, arrogant rebel leader that he was when he led a small
armed force that overturned an earlier regime.
In recent years, he has gone further and has actively
the help of his original sponsor, Libya) the destabilisation and plunder of
his regional neighbours.
When George W Bush
was in that region – further north in Senegal,
where there is a modicum of democracy and a government that seems determined
to break the mould of African states – he made a deeply emotive speech about
the impact of slavery on the continent.
Bush is no Clinton with his smooth tongue,
but he means what he says
and has deep-rooted Christian beliefs.
Bush called slavery perhaps the greatest single crime
ever committed. He acknowledged its impact on the life of the continent and
its contribution to the countries that were direct beneficiaries of the
It was a first for a major Western leader.
The two situations – the Liberian civil war and
the slave trade – are
linked by history.
originally set up as a country which would provide a haven
for those freed slaves in the US who wished to return to their home
The slave ships were examples of human
deprivation and cruelty matched
only by the ovens of Nazi Germany. In their millions, young adults in the
prime of their lives were
captured by slave traders and sent to distant lands in the holds of
Two-thirds died in transit, they left behind them
and societies. There is no doubt in my mind that some of the problems of
Africa are rooted in the slave trade
For the men and women who chose to return to Africa, I can just
imagine how they felt when they saw land after the long sea journey home –a
mixture of excitement and apprehension as to what they would find in their
My wife’s family history can be traced
back to two families – one
German and the other English – who came out to the Eastern Cape in the
1840s. Her great-grandmother was let down over the side of a sailing ship
and then rowed in a small boat to the shore.
She would have been carried to the beach. My own
arrived in 1867. By then there were small harbours and less mystery. Even
so, when they first looked at the coast of Africa, they too must have been
both apprehensive and excited.
Both sets of
migrants now find themselves less than enamoured with the
African experience they chose to adopt. We white Africans in the south of
the continent face uncertainty and, in some cases, hostility.
We are in two minds as to whether we should continue with the
experiment our forefathers committed us to by their migration.
The former slave families of Liberia
have been in power as a minority
for many decades and they too must be feeling some despair as to what they
is in such a mess, living standards are appalling and many
must be thinking they would have been better off if their forefathers had
elected to remain in the US rather than return to Africa.
Another form of forced migration is underway in Africa. This time it
is our educated and young who are fleeing the chaos on the continent. They
choose to go to Western countries, most often in the Northern Hemisphere and
to start a new life there, distant from the lawlessness, hunger,
homelessness and desperation that characterise life for the great majority
in Africa. In accepting these migrants to their shores, these countries are
actually bleeding Africa dry of the very people who could make a difference.
Their space will never be adequately filled with expatriates, who are
most often simply here to make a fast buck and then retire to the safety and
security of their home countries. The people who step into their shoes have
no experience and over a third are likely to be HIV positive – further
restricting their ability to make an adequate contribution.To some extent,
this second era of forced migration, may have an even more devastating
impact on the continent than the first mainly because of Aids which is now
recognised as being capable of ripping the heart out of the African sunrise.
It is this factor that makes people like Charles Taylor and his
mindless thugs and aging dictators like Robert Mugabe, so dangerous by
creating states, which are basically, kleptocracies and bankrupting their
people. By destroying everything that has been built up over the past
century or more, they are responsible for the migration from Africa of the
continent’s brightest and best. South Africa's experience says they do not
come back - why should they emulate the forefathers of the Liberian state
and abandon the safety and security of a home in the rich countries of the
No, it is time we faced up to the fact that the crisis of governance
is notjust about being able to vote freely, being able to build up a
business andenjoy the fruits of your efforts. It's not just about the rule
of law and freedom from persecution and poverty. It's about the survival of
mankind. Certainly, it holds the key to the future of Africa.
On Thursday last week, a small group of women staged a demonstration
in myhometown (Bulawayo) - a peaceful demo protesting the Public Order and
Security Act. Fourty-two were beaten and imprisoned - six were nursing
mothers and several weregrandmothers. It did not merit any coverage - the
rebels in Liberia with their mortars and AK47 rifles were the headlines
throughout the world. But the struggle those women were waging was the real
fight for the soul of Africa - not the phony war in Liberia between selfish,
power hungry imbeciles.
If these small protests fail to shift history here, we too may slide
into anarchy and chaos, like Liberia. Putting such a state back together
will be a much tougher task and the likely impact of such a tragedy would
spread far beyond our boundaries.
By Eddie Cross
Eddie Cross is economic adviser to the Movement for Democratic Change.
Don’t shield looters
MANY Zimbabweans will take President Robert Mugabe’s call on
officials of his ruling ZANU PF to surrender some of the farms which they
grabbed from white commercial farmers and resettled black villagers with
both a sense of hope and disappointment.
Hope that probably Mugabe will this time round
bring his authority to
bear on his "comrades" to surrender the land, crops and household property –
including even kitchen utensils – which they looted in broad daylight from
disappointment that it took Mugabe this long to wake up to the
plunder of the mainstay agricultural sector by officials of ZANU PF, all in
the name of correcting an inequitable land ownership system imposed on
Zimbabwe by British colonialism.
Since 2000, when the first illegal
invasion of farms happened, many
concerned Zimbabweans, including this and other newspapers, warned that the
so-called "Third Chimurenga" to repossess land stolen from blacks had become
a mere excuse for powerful ZANU PF politicians and their cronies to loot
were either ignored or dismissed as "Uncle Toms" out to serve
the interests of their British and white masters opposed to the government’s
revolutionary fast-track land reforms.
Now, as Mugabe and his latest Land
Review Committee have discovered,
all the anarchy was just a cover-up for greedy politicians and
well-connected people to grab several of the best farms for themselves in
breach of the government’s own one-man, one-farm policy.
But most unforgivable is the fact that on several
occasions some of
the multiple-farm-owning fat cats in ZANU PF had to displace poor villagers
from farms where the latter had been resettled by the government itself.
We need not mention here the withering food
shortages that now grip
Zimbabwe partly because crop production on the seized farms collapsed as
most of the new landowners neither had the knowledge nor will to fully
utilise the land.
Indeed, most of these
politicians are mere telephone farmers who only
visit their farms
at weekends to show off to their friends and relatives.
Neither does one need to mention the hundreds of
farmers and hundreds
of thousands of their workers who were assaulted willy-nilly, injured or
even killed in organised mayhem meant to remove them from their own
Elsewhere in the world, where
governments are people’s servants and
not their masters, an
administration that bungles up a vital social and economic sector such
as agriculture is to this country would resign in shame.
how our government works, it would be asking for too much to
expect it to resign.
The least we now expect from Mugabe is for him to stop shielding the
greedy elements in his government and party.
He must expose those who grabbed more than one farm and order that
they surrender these and that they publicly apologise to anguished
Banks are also contributing to cash shortage
Allow me space in your widely read paper to air my views on why I
feel banks in this country are contributing to the shortage of cash. They
are doing so through the insensitive charges they are demanding, compounded
by the low interest being given to depositors.
Saturday 26 July, 2003, I approached a commercial bank at their
High Glen branch intending to withdraw some money for the purchase of
agricultural inputs. I was shocked to be told I could only get $5 000, an
amount not even enough to meet my bus fare to Guruve.
I understand the reality
on the ground, but having travelled more than
200 km to what I call my nearest bank – only to be given $5 000 – it was
just too much. It is the kind of thing which encourages depositors to keep
their money at home.
When I tried to plead with the manager that I needed cash
fertiliser, new ploughs and also cater for an intended visit to Mupedzanhamo
to do some shopping for my family, he told me to apply for cheques, with
each cheque incurring an administrative fee of $2 500.
He even suggested that I obtain a cheque to pay for the
bus which I
was going to board after I had told him that my bus fare was more than the
$5 000 I was allowed to withdraw.
Well, in future
when one decides to keep their hard-earned money at
home because of this insensitive treatment by banks, who should be blamed
for having started this cat-and-mouse game?
From The Star (SA), 1 August
Tumbling Zim dollar hits Unisa's back pocket
By Jos Charle
Zimbabwe's woes have become Unisa's
worries. A projected R46-million
shortfall - blamed mostly on the Zimbabwean situation - in the university's
budget has resulted in a moratorium on new appointments, and tightening of
overtime and consultants' payments. There has also been a massive clampdown
on the use of telephones and hired cars. The university yesterday dismissed
the issue as "not too serious", with the registrar, finance, Professor
Gerhard Cronjé, saying that "it is not a crisis." This week, university
principal Professor Barney Pityana sent a note to staff informing them of
the belt-tightening, indicating what would be frozen. These include:
Appointments and the purchase of equipment; Operational expenses (tight
control on overtime, consultants and supply/short-term staff contracts;
Employment equity fund (payments out of this fund not yet committed will be
frozen). The university will also clamp down on the use of phones, warning
that staff will be billed for private calls, and managers must use the
travel budget more responsibly.
Putting the matter into "perspective", Cronjé said it
was a normal business
practice to look at the long-term situation and take appropriate action. "If
we do nothing about putting brakes on expenses, we will see a R46-million
deficit. "This situation is made worse by our Zimbabwean students. While
they do pay their dues in Zimbabwean dollars, our accountants there have not
been able to hand sufficient money over to us due to the poor exchange rate.
"This situation has impacted on us to the tune of about R42-million, but we
are bound by the government's Nepad initiatives to assist other African
students, and we are committed to that," Cronjé explained. Unisa has 5 700
students in Zimbabwe, who attend a number of colleges assisted by Unisa.
Cronjé said Unisa had previously been praised for its sound financial
management and he wanted to point out that the projected deficit did not
represent a crisis. "It is not a big thing."
Referring to the recent 130-year anniversary celebrations,
R2,5-million had been budgeted for that, "and in any case, we were able to
offset this with sponsorships". "In the end we will probably pay only
between R400 000 to R500 000 for the celebrations. So that did not impact
negatively on our efforts. "Besides, it was an excellent marketing tool for
the university in the face of the pending mergers." Unisa was also facing
"approved but unbudgeted-for items", including R5-million for "emergency
security provision", R6,3-million for "additional pay settlements" and
R2,5-million for the anniversary celebrations. In spite of the projected
shortfall, Unisa did not expect to see any job losses at this stage, nor was
it envisaged that students would have to foot the bill via increased annual
fees, Cronjé said
Talks gather pace behind the scenes
DIRECT informal talks between the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) have been going on for weeks to clear contested
issues before dialogue officially starts, it emerged yesterday.
Top diplomatic sources said a Zanu PF delegation led by
and an MDC team led by Welshman Ncube had been engaged in "face-to-face
brainstorming meetings" to resume talks that broke down last year.
Chinamasa was the Zanu PF group leader while Ncube was the MDC
delegation to the botched talks instigated by South African President Thabo
Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo last year.
Zanu PF politburo members Nicholas Goche and Elliot Manyika and
spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi and deputy secretary-gen-eral Gift Chimanikire
have also been involved in the talks.
Issues at stake
include confidence-building measures, President Mugabe's
legitimacy, the constitution, political violence, economic recovery and
Sources close to the behind-the-scenes manoeuvres said the two parties were
trying to find common ground on contentious issues.
"They are battling to clear
divisive issues before formal dialogue resumes,"
a source said. "The aim is to tackle contested matters as part of
confidence-building to pave way for a negotiated settlement." sources said.
Zanu PF and the MDC were trying
to avoid last year's mistake of meeting for
formal talks when they were still worlds apart on key issues.
It is understood the parties are no
longer anchored in their initial rigid
postures that were once equated to the north and south poles.
That partly explains why MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and his MPs last week
ended their boycott of Mugabe's opening of parliament.
The source said Zanu PF and the MDC - with some nudging
from Mbeki and
church leaders - have agreed on certain confidence-building mechanisms to
unscramble the conundrum.
The MDC agreed to listen
to Mugabe's parliament speech on condition that
Zanu PF would take steps to make fundamental reforms such as halting
political violence, modifying repressive legislation, improving electoral
laws and restoring civil and political liberties.
The MDC has also resolved tosuspend its election
petition against Mugabe's
re-election once formal talks resume, to which Zanu PF is agreed.
The two parties are currently writing reports that will
possibly next week to the clerical mediators led by Zimbabwe Council of
Churches president Bishop Sebastian Bakare on the agenda and way forward.
This will also cover the formula for talks and timeframes.
Mbeki has been piling pressure on Zanu PF and the MDC to
talk. South African
High Commissioner to Harare Jeremiah Ndou has also been involved in shuttle
diplomacy between the ruling party and the opposition.
On Wednesday, Ndou met with Ncube at the Advocates
Chambers at Old Mutual
Centre to discuss the talks. He was also expected to meet Zanu PF officials.
Contacted for comment, Ncube only said:
"There have been numerous emissaries
to us to talk about talks and ways of removing obstacles to dialogue."
Chinamasa said he had not been in contact with the MDC.
$885b needed to revive farming
Dumisani Muleya/Augustine Mukaro
GOVERNMENT has approached donors to raise $885 billion to re-vive
agricultural production sabotaged by the chaotic land reform programme.
In an appeal for food aid to the donor community last week, Finance minister
Herbert Murerwa said agricultural recovery would require $884,6 billion to
fund projects, crop and livestock input support schemes.
This is more than last year's national budget of $780
billion, which has now
run into over a trillion through a supplementary budget.
The appeal through the United Nations Development Programme
government prepared to embark on a massive reverse land takeover to correct
anomalies created by farm seizures in the past three years.
The plea for donor support is contrary to President Robert
at the peak of the fast track programme that Zimbabwe would finance its own
land reform. But Western donors have said they will not release money unless
government adopts a transparent and lawful land redistribution exercise.
This week Mugabe ordered top government and
Zanu PF members, military,
police and intelligence officers, war veterans and senior civil servants
with more than one farm to surrender the extra properties within two weeks.
His order was prompted by former
Secretary to Cabinet Charles Utete's
interim land audit report which revealed a pattern of irregularities in the
allocation of farms.
team, appointed in May, is expected to submit its final report in
two weeks' time.
Utete's report is said to be simi-lar in form and content to
State for Land Reform, Flora Bhuka's that unearthed gross irregularities and
multiple-farm-ownership in land redistribution.
It is said to have angered Mugabe who has now ordered
top government and
Zanu PF officials who have more than one farm to surrender the extra land
within two weeks. The directive was issued at a Zanu PF politburo meeting on
Mugabe initially indicated at a
political rally in Chivi, Masvingo province,
last month that there would be repossession of farms - this time from blacks
and not whites as was the case since 2000 - to correct abuses.
Like the Bhuka report that was
suppressed in the corridors of power in
March, Utete's document shows senior politicians violated government's own
one-man-one-farm policy by seizing more than one farm.
There has been widespread abuse of the programme that
Zimbabwe's once-thriving commercial agriculture. Swathes of seized land now
lie derelict while the country begs for food from donors.
The abuses have also been con-firmed by the report of the
portfolio committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water Develop-ment, Rural
Resources and Resettlement released in June.
parliamentary report was compiled between January and March. Whereas
Zimbabwe needed US$20 million in 1998 for land reform, it now needs close to
a trillion to fund a recovery process between five and 10 years.
$120 billion is needed to fund recovery for beef, dairy and small
stock and $758 billion for crop projects that include the production of
cereal and oil seed crops as well as buying seed and fertilisers. About
$6,65 billion is needed for dams and irrigation.
Chinese firm abandons Nuanetsi project
CHINA International Water and Electric Corporation (Ciwec) has disowned the
much-talked-about Nuanetsi irrigation project citing differences with
government over how it should progress, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this
Government is understood to have ordered the Agricultural Rural Development
Authority (Arda) to take over the project. Ciwec managing director Shang E
confirmed his company was no longer in charge of the project but would not
give details on the new developments.
"We are not in
charge of that project," Shang said. "We don't have details
of what is happening on that project. Your best bet for details should be
Arda which has taken charge of the project."
Shang could not explain their
differences with government. He referred all
questions to Vhe Pao, his office manager in Chiredzi. The manager could not
be contacted by yesterday.
Arda chief executive Joseph Matovanyika could not be
reached for comment as
he was said to be attending a workshop.
Under the project, government announced in March that it
had contracted the
Chinese company to develop 100 000 hectares of virgin land in a
multi-billion deal it said would be the panacea to Zimbabwe's food crisis.
Media reports said the Chinese company had won the tender to clear 100 000
hectares of land for irrigation. The government announced it would grow
three crops a year and turn Zimbabwe into the region's bread-basket.
Farmers in the area this week said a mere 260 hectares
had been cleared.
Only 160 hectares were ready for planting.
Agricultural experts said the Nuanetsi project would not
solve the country's
acute food shortages which have seen the government turning to the donor
community to stave off mass starvation.
Another ambitious government initiative in the
southeastern Lowveld - the
winter maize project - launched last year has been abandoned after sugar
estates said they had no land to spare.
There were poor harvests last year which made the project
"Firstly, the water for this proposed scheme
would have to come from the
Tokwe-Makorsi Dam," one expert said.
"The dam, which has been beset by financing problems over the
last 20 years,
is only at ground level. It will take at least three years to complete, and
then several years to fill up."
Another expert said
the proposed 100 000ha Nuanetsi project currently
consisted of lines drawn on a map but there was nothing on the ground. There
are also hills to be flattened and gullies to be bridged in a massive
exercise to turn virgin bush into productive agricultural land.
"Then we come to the part where
the taps have to be opened and the proposed
crops watered. The huge network of irrigation canals, pipelines, roads,
housing, schools and other infrastructure need to be set up. That will take
many years," he said.
The expert dismissed claims by government that the project
could produce 21
tonnes per hectare on the same land. Under "absolute optimum conditions", he
said, production would be five tonnes per hectare.
"During summer the weather is too hot and in winter daylight
hours are too
short to produce a higher yield," he said.
Govt's proposals on cash crisis flawed - analysts
GOVERNMENT'S proposed measures to alleviate the deepening cash crisis will
not work as they are based on a flawed understanding of the issue, analysts
Authorities on Tuesday announced a raft of austerity measures to ease the
crisis against a backdrop of rising tension over cash shortage.
These included the phasing out
in the next 60 days of the $500 note,
currently the highest denomination, and the introduction of a similar bank
note but with a different colour and features.
They also said government would introduce $1 000 bills to
deal with the
shortage of paper money.
Finance minister Murerwa
claimed he was stepping up efforts to address money
shortage caused by government's failure to print enough bank notes in line
with skyrocketing inflation.
Murerwa said government would from August 8 ban people
from taking local
money outside the country. Currently people are allowed to take outside $50
He said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
would introduce travellers' cheques to
reduce demand for cash.
Banks would be required to account in full for cash collected
central bank and deposits from the public. Institutions that defy these
measures would be punished. Government would force retailers and wholesalers
to deposit their money with banks as soon as possible and also account for
their own cash.
However, University of Zimbabwe
analyst Professor Tony Hawkins said in an
interview these fire-fighting measures would not resolve the problem. He
said if anything, they would fuel inflation which is currently 364,5%.
"It's all nonsense," Hawkins
said. "It's just another sign of a collapsing
government. Zanu PF has no serious economic policies except the usual ad hoc
measures and playing the blame game."
Hawkins said it would take up to a year to replace the
current $500 notes
and not two months as the minister seems to think.
"We have reached a stage where we can't change the economic
without changing government," he said. "I have always been saying this."
President Robert Mugabe also appointed a cabinet taskforce
Murerwa to tackle the cash crisis.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the cash crisis was
further evidence of Mugabe's incompetence.
"The unprecedented cash shortage
epitomises Zanu PF's policy failures," MDC
spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said.
"People now have barely enough money to buy food and fuel, pay
service bills, and buy food for children. The cash crisis and the broader
economic problems can only be resolved through the restoration of democratic
GMB forecast to incur $302b loss
THE Grain Marketing Board is forecast to make a $302 billion loss as a
result of government's land reform programme and its populist policy of
price controls, investigations by the Zimbabwe Independent have revealed.
Documents in possession of this paper show that the parastatal has been
trading maize and wheat at huge losses to cover up for the acute shortages
caused by the chaotic land reform.
In his submissions to the Budgetary and
Development Committee for the
2003-2004 recurrent and capital expenditure budget, GMB acting chief
executive officer Colonel Samuel Muvuti said the parastatal would make a
loss of $301,7 billion. He attributed the loss to the controlled prices of
wheat and maize.
"The year 2003/2004
recurrent budget shows a budgeted loss of $301,7 billion
against a loss for 2002/2003 of $24,8 billion," said Muvuti.
"The budgeted loss is
largely attributed to trading activities in major
crops which are not viable. The loss will arise from the controlled prices
of wheat and maize. The two crops will account for almost 100% of all
commodity-trading activities," he said.
While Lands and Agriculture minister Joseph Made has imposed
on the commodities, government has failed to pay a subsidy to keep GMB
"For the past three years government has not
provided money for the board's
recurrent and capital expenditure despite sometimes having to
direct/instruct the board to sell below cost, particularly for maize and
wheat," Muvuti said.
The GMB has been
buying local maize at $130 000 a tonne, while importing at
US$169. The parastatal would then sell the maize to millers at the
controlled price of $9 600 a tonne. The GMB has been buying local wheat at
$150 000 a tonne and importing at $212 000 before selling the commodity at
losses incurred by the GMB through the trading of maize and wheat
eroded little profits realised from the selling of other crops, the majority
of which have been notching profit margins of below 1%.
The GMB however hopes for a reprieve from the recently approved
prices" for maize and wheat. The government has approved a maize selling
price of $272 987 a tonne and $305 487 for wheat.
The sharp increase in the selling prices of the maize and wheat has
inevitably triggered off chaos on the consumer market with millers raising
prices of flour and maize meal. Bakers have also responded by increasing
bread prices by over 100%.
The effectiveness of the break-even prices in
extricating the GMB from
losses hinges on availability of foreign currency because more than 80% of
the country's wheat requirements for the current year have to be imported.
Wheat imports of 334 000 tonnes would require US$83,5 million while 816 525
tonnes of maize would require US$163 million, Muvuti said in the submission.
The ability to stave off the serious
deficit through the new pricing regime
also depends largely on the official exchange rate. Forecasts were made
using the official exchange rate of $848/US$1.
The other options through which the GMB could achieve
viability would be to
borrow from the market as well as obtaining a government subsidy. Muvuti
however cast doubts over both options.
"The GMB cannot sustain an (accumulated) debt position of
"The current sentiments on the market
indicate that financial institutions
will find it difficult to support Grain Bills of this magnitude.
"For the past three years, government has
not provided money for the board's
recurrent and capital expenditure," he said.
An analyst said the huge deficits incurred by the GMB could
avoided had government taken note of calls to decontrol trade in wheat and
"Individual millers should have been allowed to
import wheat, thereby
dictating realistic prices of flour and bread on the consumer market. The
$105 billion deficit caused by wheat trading could have been avoided," the
Bread shortages set to worsen
BREAD shortages are set to worsen next year as the country's winter wheat
and barley production continue to falter, it has been learnt.
Figures obtained by the Zimbabwe Independent at the close of this year's
winter planting period show that a record low hectarage has been put under
A Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) survey shows that
only 4 500 hectares have
been put under wheat in the commercial farming sector. The figure is a mere
6% of the area that used to be planted.
The survey shows that an estimated 6 500 hectares of barley
have also been
planted this year, a 50% drop from the plus or minus 12 000 hectares
normally planted each year.
Commercial farmers used to
put between 65 000 and 80 000 hectares of land
under winter crop, producing up to 280 000 tonnes of wheat.
"Irrigation schemes for winter cereals
were 65 000 hectares but these have
been looted and damaged and we estimate that only 15 000 hectares are still
operational," the CFU said.
"As poverty and unemployment increase, theft of assets
increases, making it
difficult for farmers to continue their operations."
The CFU has forecast this year's winter crop at around
8% of annual average
because of continued vandalism and looting of equipment on farms.
An estimated 22 500 tonnes of wheat and 26 000 tonnes of
barley are expected
from the commercial farming sector.
demand of about 400 000-500 000 tonnes and the deficit used to be met
through imports of gristing wheat used to blend the local product to get
high quality flour.
"New farmers are not achieving desired production levels due
to lack of
knowledge, skills and finance. They do not have the capacity to match
production levels of displaced commercial farmers," said the CFU.
The Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU) said the number of their
winter crop production had increased since the beginning of the land reform
"Though we are in the process of
compiling data on the number of farmers who
planted wheat this year, there is clear evidence that the hectarage has
increased," said an official at the ZFU.
An agricultural analyst said the increase in hectarage planted
farmers would not make much difference to the food security situation
because of their small portions.
"ZFU members, though
many, grow very little wheat, mostly for household
consumption," the analyst said.
"The main drawback faced by subsistence farmers is lack of
finance and skills to produce for commercial purposes."
The majority of the crop is irrigated using overhead
though a small amount is irrigated using flood, and centre-pivots. Major
production areas are along the major water courses in Mashonaland, Makonde
and mid-Save areas.
Arex bungles Mat food assessment
THE Department of Agricultural Research and Extension Services (Arex) has
allegedly bungled food assessment reports on Matabeleland that has resulted
in food relief agencies scaling down food aid in the region, the Zimbabwe
Independent has learnt.
According to information gathered by the Independent, two reports produced
by Arex for the months of January and March this year downplayed the food
needs for two districts in Matabeleland North and South provinces. Donors
scaled down food distribution in the two provinces using information
provided by Arex.
WFP spokesman, Luis
Clemens, confirmed that the UN body had scaled down
operations in parts of Matabeleland but said the decision was not based
solely on Arex reports but included community and WFP assessments.
"We did our own assessment of
the situation with the help of the community
and in some regions we scaled down to allow people to harvest. Our policy is
that we feed people at a time when they need food and not always," Clemens
The WFP head of
the Bulawayo sub-office Rubina Mulenga said the downscaling
was a result of many factors, not Arex reports alone.
"Arex produced figures and WFP
looked at those figures and our own
assessments showed us that there was need to downscale even though we admit
that there were flaws in the Arex reports," Mulenga said.
She said the number of beneficiaries in Tsholotsho was
reduced from 107 000
to 72 000 in a total population of 119 000.
"We were feeding 90% of the population but one ward was removed
list because the people were accessing GMB maize and they are close to the
business centre. They have access to other means of getting food and the
Arex report acknowledged that," she said.
World Vision and the
Organisation of Rural Associations for Progress (Orap),
the two implementing partners of the World Food Programme, have reduced
their operations in Tsholotsho and Bulilimamangwe districts amid fears that
thousands of people could starve.
The WFP has since March also scaled down operations in
Lupane, Nkayi and
A Matabeleland North
provincial joint council, made up of Grain Marketing
Board officials, council chief executive officers and the Provincial
Development Committee, disputed the Arex food assessment reports and
questioned why it was not handed over to the governor's office and other
are pulling out of some areas citing the Arex report which said
there has been good harvests in some parts of the province. This is not
true," said a member of the Matabeleland North joint council, who spoke on
condition of anonymity.
GMB officials are alleged to have told a joint council
meeting last week
that in their distribution patterns, Matabeleland was not a priority despite
the fact that the government cited the province as a disaster area in its
food aid appeal sent last week to the international community.
When government made the appeal to the United Nations for
more food aid last
week, Matabeleland was described as being "of particular interest".
Chinotimba barred from poll contest
THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has
barred former chairmen of Harare and Bulawayo provinces, Joseph Chinotimba
and Jabulani Sibanda respectively, from contesting any positions at its long
overdue national congress in Mutare.
The ZNLWVA this week said Chinotimba and Sibanda were no longer members of
the association's chapters, which ruled them out from contesting executive
Chinotimba and Sibanda were fired from ZNLWVA
chapters they were leading in
Harare and Bulawayo over allegations of misconduct although the two still
insist they are in charge of the provinces.
The standoff between the two former provincial leaders and
national executive is set to lead to a feud as acting national chairman
Patrick Nyaruwata has already thrown his name into the election fray.
Nyaruwata in an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent said
Sibanda would not be allowed to contest any position in the ZNLWVA.
He said they would also be barred from casting votes during the elections.
"Chinotimba and Sibanda are not in the ZNLWVA structures
and as we speak
they are not allowed to contest any position nor are they allowed to vote in
the elections, they are just like you right now," Nyaruwata said.
Chinotimba and Sibanda are understood to be already
campaigning for the two
top posts in the ZNLWVA national executive.
But sources said the chairman's post was not going to be
contested in Mutare
since the association wants to make President Robert Mugabe life chairman of
The war veterans
association has not had a leader since the death of
Chenjerai Hunzvi in 2001.
Sources have alleged Chinotimba and Sibanda have the backing of
Parliament and Zanu PF secretary for administration, Emmerson Mnangagwa to
take up senior positions in the association.
sources said Sibanda fell out of favour with senior Zanu PF officials in
the Bulawayo province after showing open support for Mnangagwa in the raging
succession debate in a province where Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo
is seen as a clear favourite.
"Chinotimba and Sibanda are
being backed by Mnangagwa and that is the main
reason why they are being pushed out of the association by the interim
national executive," said the source.
"The plan was for Chinotimba to take over as chairman while
deputise him and that would ensure that Mnangagwa enjoys maximum support
from the war veterans but that has been scuttled."
When contacted for comment, Chinotimba vowed that he would
chairmanship despite his suspension from Harare province.
"Nyaruwata is afraid of contesting against me," said
Chinotimba. "He would
lose if he faces me in an election but when he says I am banned from
contesting the elections it shows how mad he is. I will contest in the
Mutare congress and I will become chairman," Chinotimba vowed.
Nyaruwata scoffed at Chinotimba's allegations and said he was
the chairmanship as the association had agreed earlier that the post would
not be contested.